Things to Do

9 Holiday Shows to Watch to Get Into the Christmas Spirit

The season isn’t complete without caroling, Christmas plays, and high-kicking elves

Photograph by xmb Photography.
Holiday Bucket List 2022

About Holiday Bucket List 2022

Here are 55 ideas for getting out of the house and into the spirit this holiday season.

A Christmas Carol

November 18–December 31 | Ford’s Theatre

See the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future in Ford’s 43rd annual production of the Dickens classic. A sensory-­friendly performance on December 11 dims the lights and the loud noises. $26 and up.


Gay Men’s Chorus Holiday Show

December 3, 9, and 11 | Lincoln Theatre

Photograph courtesy of Gay Men’s Chorus Holiday Show.

The chorus’s holiday show this year features tap-dancing reindeer, kick lines, and a costume reminiscent of a Christmas tree. Expect tunes like “Underneath the Tree” and “Sleigh Ride.” $25 and up.


Step Afrika!’s Magical Musical Holiday Step Show

December 9–18 | Arena Stage

Step Afrika!’s annual holiday performance. Photograph by Jati Lindsay.

Step into the holidays with a dance extravaganza celebrating the African tradition of stepping. In this percussive performance, dancers don penguin and polar-­bear suits to jump, flip, and kick. $56 and up.


National Symphony Orchestra, Handel’s Messiah

December 15–18 | Kennedy Center

Photograph courtesy of National Symphony Orchestra.

Conductor Fabio Biondi leads the NSO in a rendition of Handel’s seasonal oratorio. Vocals are performed by four soloists and the Choral Arts Society of Washington. $39 and up.


A Candlelight Christmas

December 16–23 | Kennedy Center and Strathmore

The Washington Chorus takes on merry carols in this 75-­minute concert with a candlelight processional. Vocals are accompanied by an orchestra for a not-so-silent night. $19 and up.


Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s The Ghosts of Christmas Eve

December 26 | Capital One Arena

Photograph by Bob Carey.

Sure, pyrotechnics and laser beams are not your average holiday light show. But the riotous scene feels festive when paired with this symphonic rock band’s big Yuletide sound. $50 and up.


Catch the Nutcracker—with a Twist

The nostalgic holiday classic gets a refresh in these productions

The Washington Ballet’s The Nutcracker

November 12–13 and November 25–December 30 | THEARC and Warner Theatre

Photograph by Spencer Bentley.

Time-travel to 1882 Georgetown for this DC-set annual tradition. George Washington and King George (cast as the Rat King, naturally) join Clara and the Prince in the period piece set to Tchaikovsky’s score. $49 and up.


The Puppet Company’s The Nutcracker

November 25–January 1 | Glen Echo Park

Life-size characters in elaborate masks perform alongside marionettes and hand puppets in this rendition, with music from the Arlington Symphony Orchestra. Special effects bring the stage to life with simulated fog and snow. $15.


The Hip-Hop Nutcracker

December 19–22 | Strathmore

Photograph by Cheryl Mann/Strathmore.

Breakdancing snowflakes and electric violins take the storied classic in an unexpected direction. Hip-hop legend Kurtis Blow opens the show in this version set in New York City with a back­drop of digital art. $34 and up.

This article appears in the November 2022 issue of Washingtonian.

Daniella Byck
Lifestyle Editor

Daniella Byck joined Washingtonian in 2022. She was previously with Outside Magazine and lives in Northeast DC.